SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Pat Quinn has approved an expansion of a program that assists military families in Illinois during conflicts or wars.
The Chicago Democrat on Thursday signed the measure to include future military conflicts -- not just those arising from the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The 2003 program was designed because military families were taking a salary cut after National Guard members and reservists were deployed. It provides funds to pay for groceries, rent or utility bills. It has doled out about $15.4 million to support almost 29,000 families. An income tax checkoff allows residents to donate to the fund.
Quinn says Illinois' military members shouldn't have to worry their families are struggling financially back home during service.